Less than 12 months later, producers/writers/directors Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard have managed to cajole another group of talented filmmakers to take their crack at the concept, and results are, to be perfectly frank, close to astonishing. V/H/S 2 doesn’t just improve upon the first film, doesn’t just take note of its missteps and mistakes, it quickly enters the pantheon as one of the great horror anthologies ever made.
The Way, Way Back proves a familiar story in the hands of great filmmakers confident in their abilities (as well as in the talented team they’ve assembled to assist them) can still be worthwhile. This movie is wonderful, nothing more, and certainly nothing less, the truths it revels in may not be new or revelatory but that doesn’t make them any less compelling or, for that matter, universal.
The brothers Cairnes stage their escalating series of unfortunate events with lackadaisical confidence, propelling things ever forward with jovial efficiency that’s as inventive as it is absurd. They spill a lot of blood, throwing guts and bits of flesh all over the place, doing it with a gorgeously energetic joy that’s continually impressive.
The pacing, while measured, some might even go so far as to call it leisurely, felt spot-on as far as I was concerned, everything building with an unhurried malevolent elegance that kept the tension building and the suspense continually omnipresent.
I’m not sure what to write about Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring. The movie is as observationally distant as many of her previous films, especially Somewhere, to a lesser extent Lost in Translation, looking at its vapid, materialistic, fame-obsessed central group of teenage reprobates with the same disaffected malaise they themselves project. It’s aggressively nonjudgmental, the film choosing to view its protagonists with a detached superficiality that doesn’t connect emotionally but still manages to pack something of a major, uncomforting wallop all the same.
It’s a venal shell game where grey overwhelms all of the black and white ideals Sarah originally held, making her ultimate destination all the more emotionally affecting in the process.
The Kings of Summer shouldn’t work, the fact that it does a pleasant summertime cinematic revelation I couldn’t have been more thankful for.
“Going through a difficult experience isn’t the end of the line. There can be hope. It’s out there; you just have to grab it.”
– Scott McGehee
A modern day adaptation of the Henry James novel, What Maisie Knew is an emotionally-charged, delicately authentic knockout tale of a child learning to circumnavigate an adult world while maintaining her wide-eyed exuberance about life and its potential in the process.